WHILE it is likely that few people outside the supply chain industry would have given much thought to the sector before 2020, it didn’t take long for COVID-19 to change that.
Across Africa, informal merchants and logistics firms, alike, battled to navigate the unpredictable supply and demand brought about by the pandemic.
We all felt the impact of the under-strain supply chain.
Even the most basic and essential goods were difficult to come by. And the challenge is not over yet.
With recent announcements around COVID-19 vaccines from different pharmaceuticals, conversations around finding solutions to this global manufacturing and distribution issues have come to the fore.
It is only by protecting and reinforcing the supply chain that the world is able to carry out this monumental task.
There is much to learn from major players in the logistics industry, who continue to handle complex challenges brought about by the pandemic.
Global firms such as DHL can process large volumes of orders, anticipate spikes in demand for goods and optimise routing across their warehouses to collect and pack goods more effectively across sizeable footprints.
On the outside looking in, digital transformation stories such as DHL may appear beyond reach for companies that do not have the same access to resources.
However, logistics and supply chain experts opine that employing tech solutions in an organisation’s day-to-day operations need not be a complex undertaking.
One example is automating routine tasks such as data capturing with the help of a software.
I will use the example of my son to illustrate this.
During his summer job, he would spend the morning plugging in data from one system into another.
After a couple of days on the job, he told his line manager that he could write a macro in Microsoft Excel to automate the process.
Firms looking to optimise their operations through digitisation should take stock of all the technological solutions that are readily available and whether they are being used to their full potential.
Leadership is key. You need people who are able and willing to push for digitisation.